Exploring Balboa Park, San Diego: 5 Can’t-Miss Festivals

Balboa Park FestivalsAll year round, there are fun activities for the whole family that take place at Balboa Park, San Diego. Whether you want to entertain the kids, learn something new, or experience another culture, the following are some of the top festivals designed with children in mind that you won’t want to miss!

1. Earth Fair

Held every year on Earth Day, this festival is the largest free annual environmental fair in the world. Every year, the event draws around 60,000 visitors, who come to learn about wildlife preservation, alternative energy, eco-tourism, and even pet adoption.

Each year, there is an area at Earth Fair specifically for the youngsters, with games, crafts, and storytelling, all designed to educate kids about environmental issues. There is also a Children’s Stage with performances aimed at younger audiences running throughout the day. Finally, there is the Children’s Earth Parade, set to a different theme every year. You can even join in and give your kids the chance to dress up in creative costumes!

2. December Nights

The largest free community festival in all of San Diego, December Nights spans two days (the first Friday and Saturday of the month) and typically attracts more than 350,000 visitors. There is plenty to do, ranging from trying international food to enjoying a variety of entertainment, including music and dance presentations. There is also free museum entry for many of the museums around Balboa Park. Plus, for some more lighthearted fun, kids can meet Santa in several locations nearby.

3. Ethnic Food Fair

Engage your tastebuds while learning about different foods from around the globe at this Balboa Park event! The Ethnic Food Fair is a free-entry event, with nominal prices per dish, held annually in May. Your family will love to watch the many short cultural performances while you sample different cuisines – the perfect chance for kids to learn about different countries in a truly hands-on way! With the huge number of dishes available, there is plenty that even the most picky child will enjoy.

4. Halloween Family Day

During Family Day, typically held on a Saturday near Halloween, children ages 12 and under receive free entry at many of the museums and cultural attractions at Balboa Park, San Diego. Adults also receive a discount when they purchase a Stay-for-the-Day pass, which allows you to enter five of the top museums throughout the day. Along with their regular exhibitions, many museums set up hands-on activities, crafts, tours, storytelling, and costume parades for kids who attend.

5. Lawn Programs

Every Sunday from 12 PM to 5 PM from March through October, Balboa Park hosts events organized by 32 multicultural groups. Each Lawn Program celebrates a different culture with traditional dance, costume, arts and crafts, and ethnic food for sale.

The Lawn Programs take place around the historical Exposition cottages, often around a date important to the culture. So for example, the House of Mexico holds its festival (the Arte, Color & Fiesta) around Día de los Niños (Children’s Day). The House of England, in contrast, holds it event around St. George’s Day in April.

There is never a shortage of fun activities and festivals at Balboa Park. Whether you live in the area or are just planning to visit, make sure you come down and experience one or more of the above events!


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Child Art

San Diego Art Schools: 3 First-Class Programs to Consider

San Diego Art Schools and Information For KidsIf your child loves to draw, dance, act, sing, play an instrument, or paint, a career in the arts may be in his or her future. While simply encouraging your child to practice their craft through exploration of different mediums is key, there are also several other things to consider when preparing your child for a career in the San Diego art scene.

Great San Diego Art Schools

To prepare your child for higher education in the arts, it’s a good idea to understand the options that are available. San Diego art schools are plentiful, but the following are some of the best:

The Art Institute of San Diego, known as the “Smithsonian of the West,” prepares students for careers in the art world with hands-on training. For example, culinary students work at a fully-functioning restaurant, so that they are prepared to work in real-life kitchen situations. For over 30 years, this school has been teaching art students in a wide range of studies. They provide degrees in design, media arts, fashion, and culinary disciplines.

The San Diego State University’s School of Art and Design teaches students the practice of art, art history, and design with a focus on theoretical and historical study. Unlike the Art Institute, SDSU offers classes in drawing, sculpting, painting, interior design, and graphic design skills. If your child is more interested in fashion or the culinary arts, this school wouldn’t be be a good fit. SDSU students often go on to become architectural, interior, and landscape designers, digital artists, professionals in advertising, and many more exciting fields.

The University of San Diego’s College of Arts and Science offers a total of 28 majors and 34 minors, with many of these focusing on the arts. The small classroom size, about half the size of normal university classes, makes it easier for students to interact with each other and their teacher. The programs also provide a variety of projects that put students in real-world situations to prepare them for future careers.

Potential Art Careers

Studies in the arts can provide your child with a firm foundation for a variety of careers with high-earning potential and growth. For example, multimedia arts is one of the most promising fields, as the industry is expected to grow 25.8 percent in the next 10 years. If your child is a free spirit and would like to be her own boss, consider a career in the multimedia field, such as illustration, graphic design, and animation. A large percentage of these types of artists are self-employed. Some other art-related jobs to consider are:

  • Interior decorator
  • City planner
  • Personal chef
  • Video game designer
  • Television set designer

With so many job and school options available, your child can have a bright future in the San Diego art world. If your children are aspiring artists, consider enrolling them in art lessons through to help them hone their skills even further. Providing a firm foundation through one-on-one guidance is a great way to give your child an edge when applying to colleges and beyond.


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San Diego Music - Casbah

The San Diego Music Scene: Venues, Bands, and Festivals That Started it All

The San Diego Music Scene: Venues, Bands, and Festivals That Started it AllSan Diego is a city rich with culture. In particular, the San Diego music scene is especially vibrant and varied, with a number of famous artists, venues, and festivals drawing people to the city. From heavy metal to eclectic rock to opera and everything in between, the San Diego music scene features a wide range of genres, making it easy for anyone to find something they enjoy.

Beyond these well-known and current figures and places, the San Diego music scene is also steeped in a rich musical history. Continue reading to learn more…

A Brief History of the San Diego Music Scene

The San Diego music scene has been steadily growing and evolving for many decades, from the opera and big band music of the early 1900s to today’s more eclectic mix. The ’60s in particular were a definitive turning point for San Diego, as several influential bands turned the city into a place to watch for up-and-coming musicians.

Out of the many music events that took place in the 1960s, one stands out: the formation of Iron Butterfly. The band formed in San Diego in 1966 before having their first national hit with “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida”, and are known for their unique sound that paved the way for hard rock music.

The 1970s also saw a great deal of progress, especially with the change in popular music. However, of marked importance in this decade was the introduction of Tom Waits. Now renowned as a musician, in 1972 he was simply the doorman at a San Diego club. However, with his first album “Closing Time”, which came out the following year, Waits lifted himself into his now storied career.

In the 1980s, the San Diego music scene exploded with several new festivals and the introduction of The Casbah, arguably the city’s most famous venue.

The Casbah: San Diego’s Iconic Venue

Though The Clash’s famous song “Rock the Casbah” was not inspired by the San Diego club, this venue certainly stands out within the San Diego music scene. Originally built in 1989, the Casbah quickly found a strong following of locals and musicians, hosting notable bands like Nirvana and the Smashing Pumpkins. The club is renowned for hosting both world-class musicians (including MGMT, No Doubt, Ben Harper, and Arcade Fire), and local artists looking to make it big.

 In 2014, the Casbah celebrated 25 years of operation. And though its owner, Tim Mays, has been humble in the past when discussing the Casbah’s influence on the San Diego music scene, it’s impact is undeniable. In fact, the city of San Diego even declared January 14 to be “Casbah Day”.

Songs and Music Dedicated to the City

With the number of renowned musicians that have come from San Diego, in addition to those that weren’t born here but have come to love the city, it is no surprise that several artists have idolized the city through their songs.

One of the most notable is “Where the Turf Meets the Surf” by Bing Crosby. Written in commemoration of the opening of the Del Mar racetrack, the song is short but straightforward, describing the simplistic nature of what Crosby hoped the racetrack and city would be for visitors and residents.

Another notable song that features San Diego is Bruce Springsteen’s “Balboa Park,” named for the 1,200-acre park in San Diego that boasts hiking and biking trails, museums, theaters, and the San Diego Zoo. The song takes on a somber feel, as at the time the park was plagued by a string of criminal activities, from vandalism and theft to murder; thankfully, the park has cleaned up since then.

Perhaps one of the more well-known musicians who has highlighted San Diego is Eric Clapton with his 2006 album titled “The Road to Escondido”. Nominated for a Grammy in 2007, the album doesn’t feature songs dedicated specifically to San Diego, so much as embody the feeling of the city, as Clapton and JJ Cale, Clapton’s collaborator for the album, both had ties to the city.

With such a vibrant music scene, many people have taken the step to begin learning music themselves. If you are considering learning how to play, taking private music lessons with a qualified professional teacher is a great first step. Who knows – you might be the next big San Diego musician to make it big!



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San Diego Concerts - Belly Up

Can’t-Miss San Diego Concerts: Exploring the SD Music Scene

Can't-Miss San Diego Concerts: Exploring the SD Music SceneFrom arenas to more intimate settings, San Diego’s many concert venues offer a wide variety of options for every type of music fan. Often referred to as “America’s Finest City,” the beautiful weather, pristine beaches, friendly people, amazing accommodations, and assortment of venues make San Diego an ideal place for both artists and fans.

Top Venues for San Diego Concerts

Non-mainstream, niche, and cult music can be found amidst the surf atmosphere of Belly Up Tavern, which often offers San Diego concerts for less than $20.

In the former Woolworth building downtown, the HOB offers top acts and great food, and is reputed to have one of the top concert sound systems in town!

Humphreys provides a great summer concert series on the waterfront in an intimate setting. Have a boat? Freeload on the marina!

This 4,600-seat amphitheater on the San Diego State University campus has great sight lines and good sound. The theater often books emerging acts on summer tours.

This giant amphitheater in Chula Vista pulls in mega-acts with its 20,000 seat capacity, roomy facility, and large video screens.

Offering great seating and a classy atmosphere, Copley Symphony Hall offers amazing acoustics, as well as welcome relief from other pop music-laden venues.

Sycuan offers a small, intimate theater and hosts many top name acts.

How to Find San Diego Concerts

  • Search the web! From venue websites to online ticket resellers, there is an array of options for learning about San Diego concerts online, such as

  • Friend ‘em. Sign up for online newsletters or follow the social media pages of your favorite bands and venues.

  • Visit local venues. In person or online, venues always have an upcoming list of performers. See the list above for a few top venue names and contact info for San Diego concerts.

  • Ticket brokers. Love ‘em or hate ‘’em, the big name ticket brokers offer easy access to lists of events at venues citywide. For example:

New to San Diego Concerts? Follow These Tips…

  • Don’t get scalped. Purchase tickets for San Diego concerts from venue websites, band websites, or authorized ticked resellers, and compare prices between websites to ensure ticket prices are reasonable.

  • Pick up your tickets early. Will call service enables you to pick up your concert tickets before or at the show, and you’ll need to provide the credit card you used and/or an ID. Some venues also offer online tickets that you can print beforehand, which eliminates the hassle – just watch out for service fees.

  • Allow extra time for traffic, finding parking, locating seats, and purchasing concessions. Consider carpooling with friends to cut down on gas and parking fees.

  • Bring cash. It’s easier, and some venues don’t take credit cards.

  • Leave food, beverages, and any other material not permitted at home. Rules can vary depending on which venue you’re going to, so make sure to check their website beforehand so you know what to expect.

  • Don’t get lost! Determine a meeting place and plan for after the show or if you get separated from your friends.

Listening to live music can be a phenomenal experience! Whether you are a refined, classical music fan or a mosh pit master, don’t miss out on the variety of musical experiences that San Diego concerts have to offer.


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Things For Kids To Do

Learning in Disguise: Things for Kids to Do in San Diego

Learning in Disguise: Things for Kids to Do in San DiegoInvolving children in fun activities that have an educational angle rather than just entertainment-based distractions is a great way to incorporate learning into your child’s free time. There are plenty of things for kids to do in San Diego that are rooted in artistic creation, methodical thinking, and musical expression. When kids engage in these pursuits, their curiosity is encouraged, as well as their creative thinking skills, leading to character building and intellectual growth. Explore San Diego and discover a community rich with organizations and programs dedicated to your child’s development – here are a few ideas:

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4 Influential Artists and Bands from San Diego

5 Influential Artists and Bands from San DiegoSan Diego is a city full of art and creativity. Music is no exception, and dozens if not hundreds of bands and musical artists have found their start in Southern California, in nearly every genre. Here are just a few of those artists and bands from San Diego and a look into how they rose to fame.


In the late ’90s, few musical names were quite so well-known as alternative rock band Blink-182. Bassist and lead vocalist Mark Hoppus worked at a record store to help pay his way through school, and eventually connected with Tom DeLonge, the co-founder of the band. They spent many hours jamming and bouncing lyrics back and forth, soon joined in this by drummer Scott Raynor.

The band rose to fame in Southern California, which wasn’t exactly a musical hotbed at the time, but San Diego had a substantial punk-rock scene through the local surfer/skater population, and many bands from San Diego have come to reflect that. Blink-182 played at gigs throughout the city, both solo and opening for larger bands, until they found themselves signed by Cargo Records, the largest independent recording company at the time.

Jason Mraz

Born in 1977, Jason Mraz grew up in the most idyllic of American towns in rural Virginia. He was a fan of Dave Matthews Band and other grassroots bands, but it wasn’t until participating in musical theater that he really got into playing music and performing. As soon as he graduated high school, he made his way to the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York. He dropped out after a year, but his training as a vocalist is clear in the vocal range and clarity of his first album.

Jason Mraz really broke through into the musical scene in San Diego, finding his niche in the same coffeehouse scene that first supported singers like Jewel. Through those coffeehouses, he began his rise to fame as one of the many artists and bands from San Diego to reach their dreams.


One of the most popular bands from San Diego is Switchfoot. Though they market themselves as a Christian band, their songs appeal to everyone. One thing that sets them apart is the way they employ a much wider range of instruments than your typical rock band, including cellos, trumpets, violins, mandolins, flutes, and even sitars.

Switchfoot only had to play a few shows before they signed with Re:think Records. Three records later, they went platinum, and a number of their songs were featured in the movie A Walk To Remember. After that movie, they wound up signing with Columbia Records, a big name in the business.


Reigning as one of the many well-known bands from San Diego, Deftones took the alternative rock scene by storm. Co-founder and lead guitarist Stephen Carpenter taught himself the traditional six-string guitar while he was laid up in a wheelchair after being hit by a car, and though it was slow-going without any sort of lessons or instruction to guide him, he went on to help create a band that has churned out five albums thus far. Abe Cunningham, Deftones’ drummer, also took guitar lessons on the side. The two of them joined forces with three of their old high school friends, first just in jam sessions, then playing small gigs and opening for bands like Korn.

At one particular show, the gig was almost over and the crowd had dispersed, yet Deftones managed to impress a representative from Maverick Records. Their debut album released in 1994.

If there’s one thing you can learn from these and the dozens of other bands from San Diego, it’s that nothing works quite like elbow-grease and practice to help you make it big. Private music lessons are a great first step, and can open you up to a whole world of musical possibilities you never quite imagined were possible. So practice hard and keep your eye on the goal, and maybe one day the world will see your name in lights!

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TakeLessons featured in San Diego Union Tribune Sunday Edition

Read the story form the San Diego Union Tribune on how young web start-ups are doing to survive and flourish during the recession. TakeLessons was a featured company.

Steven Cox of

"The company started working out of Cox's house. It now has offices,
but not the $700 Aeron chairs that typified the excesses of the first
dot-com wave.

“Our plan is to preserve cash,” Cox said. “We work at tables that cost $20 at Staples.”

Cox said his business is growing, but he suspects growth would be faster in a better economy.

"Anyone who says they're not affected by the recession has their head in the sand," Cox said. "But if you're agile, quick, and can preserve cash, there can be advantages."

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TakeLessons CEO Speaking at Social Media Conference

Do you run a business? Interested in how to use social media to grow your clientele and grow stronger – even in these economic times?

Plan on attending the "Using Social Media Successfully" conference on Saturday, April 11 from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM at San Diego State University. Our CEO, Steven Cox, will be speaking on using Facebook advertising to attract the right customers. Here are a few details:


We are excited to have you attend the San Diego social media workshop hosted by Artistic Hub.
We have spent a lot of time creating a great agenda and lining up
amazing speakers to teach you how to effectively harness social media
both personally and professionally.

We believe 2 things:

1. There are a lot of tools out there, but only a few necessary ones to get the biggest results
2. Success with social media is directly related to the idea of Social Capital

workshop is going to focus on these two things and give you tools you
need to be successful. You will leave today with a new or improved
blog, an impressive LinkedIn account, an understanding of Facebook ads,
your own social community on Ning, an e-commerce store on Zazzle, and
the knowledge to harness Twitter effectively.

Who should attend:

  • Small business owners who want to leverage social media to attract customers
  • Students looking to use social media in business or to start a business
  • Professionals who want to use social media to monitor their competitors, attract customers, or increase their social capital

number one goal is for you to walk away with the skills to improve your
business or success as a professional or student through social media
with the ability to implement these immediately.

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